While the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, the scariest part of this virus is its randomness. Some people, who wouldn’t normally die from other respiratory viruses seem to perish from this one. While there have been a number of home remedies out there involving supplements, could good ole exercise help? Let’s dig in.
Exercise As a POWERFUL Medicine
It turns out that lifelong exercisers are, in general, healthier than everybody else. For example, those seniors who had routinely exercised for more than 30 minutes 4-5 times a week have healthier arteries than those who exercised less than twice a week (1). However, the benefits also extend to your immune system. For example, as we age our T-cells, which help fight things like viruses, get older and become less functional. However, older adults who remained more active (in this case through cycling) had immune systems that were better than their less active peers (2). Their T-cells were more likely to work better and be more functional. Realize that at this juncture, we don’t have a prescription drug that can make your arteries less stiff or keep your T-cells alive and healthier for longer.
Coronavirus and Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is when we gain weight, have high triglycerides because we eat too many carbs, have poor blood sugar control or outright type 2 diabetes, and get high blood pressure due to lack of exercise. This is a disease that not only impacts about 1/3 of Americans but is also the largest single cause of death in the United States every year (3). Experts also believe that metabolic syndrome places patients at risk for a more severe form of COVID-19 (4,5). We also believe that patients who are on blood pressure medications die more often from the coronavirus.
Can Exercise Help?
A researcher at the University of Virginia has been studying how exercise impacts your survival from ARDS, which is the severe form of lung disease seen with COVID-19 (6). Given that about half of the patients that develop severe ARDS will die, this research may be critical in the current pandemic.
The researcher just produced an in-depth review of existing medical research on exercise and an antioxidant known as “extracellular superoxide dismutase” (EcSOD). This potent antioxidant destroys harmful free radicals, protecting your tissues from the effects of aging and helping to prevent infections from getting a foothold. Your muscles naturally make EcSOD as you exercise. Hence, researchers believe that EcSOD could be used as a drug in Coronavirus ARDS patients to help survival.
How You Can make Loads of EcSOD at Home Today
There is one surefire way you can make loads of this stuff at home today without an at-home pharma lab. You can get out and exercise! The good news is that I have seen more new people outside exercising during this pandemic than ever before, many likely because they are tired of being cooped up in their house all day.
What can exercising everyday OUTSIDE your house during this pandemic do to help you? First, you need to observe all the social distancing rules. Second, getting outside today and going on a vigorous hike or bike ride will do a few things. First, it will manufacture Vitamin D, which we know boosts immunity (7,8). It will also help to reduce the number of critical virus-killing T-cells that die off due to old age. In addition, it will also boost levels of this critical antioxidant called EcSOD! Hence, it just may save your life!
What If I Can’t Exercise?
Some people can’t exercise right now due to chronic neck, back, shoulder, knee, ankle, hip or other pains. If that’s you, then get on an insurance covered Telemedicine appointment with a Regenexx physician. We’ve got specialists standing by who can help reduce that pain and increase your ability to exercise without surgery.
The upshot? Exercise may be the most powerful medicine we have right now against coronavirus. Hence, you need to commit to getting outside today and getting your heart rate up! That may make the difference between being that poor soul on a ventilator and the one who only gets a more mild form of this awful disease!
(1) Shibata, S., Fujimoto, N., Hastings, J.L., Carrick‐Ranson, G., Bhella, P.S., Hearon, C.M., Jr. and Levine, B.D. (2018), The effect of lifelong exercise frequency on arterial stiffness. J Physiol, 596: 2783-2795. doi:10.1113/JP275301
(2) Major features of immunesenescence, including reduced thymic output, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood. Aging Cell. 2018; 17:e12750. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12750, , , , .
(3) Moore JX, Chaudhary N, Akinyemiju T. Metabolic Syndrome Prevalence by Race/Ethnicity and Sex in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–2012. Prev Chronic Dis 2017;14:160287. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd14.160287
(4) Fang L, Karakiulakis G, Roth M. Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection? Lancet Respir Med. 2020 Mar 11. pii: S2213-2600(20)30116-8. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30116-8.
(5) Diaz JH. Hypothesis: angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may increase the risk of severe COVID-19. J Travel Med. 2020 Mar 18. pii: taaa041. doi: 10.1093/jtm/taaa041.
(6) Yan Z, Spaulding HR. Extracellular superoxide dismutase, a molecular transducer of health benefits of exercise [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 19]. Redox Biol. 2020;32:101508. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2020.101508
(7) Zittermann A, Pilz S, Hoffmann H, März W. Vitamin D and airway infections: a European perspective. Eur J Med Res. 2016;21:14. Published 2016 Mar 24. doi:10.1186/s40001-016-0208-y
(8) Hughes DA, Norton R. Vitamin D and respiratory health. Clin Exp Immunol. 2009;158(1):20–25. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2009.04001.x